Medical device manufacturer Stryker has agreed to settle product liability lawsuits filed over the company’s LFIT CoCr V40 femoral head hip implant component, potentially ending multi-district litigation in the US District Court for Massachusetts, according to Mass Device.
Stryker, Plaintiffs Announce Settlement Agreement
Last week, District Judge Indira Talwani, who has presided over the consolidated litigation, stayed discovery in the cases until July 31, 2019, providing plaintiffs and the defendant corporation with ample time to conduct settlement negotiations.
On November 2, 2018, Stryker informed Judge Talwani that the company and two committees representing plaintiffs in Massachusetts and New Jersey “have reached a confidential settlement agreement to resolve the claims of certain eligible patients who had surgery to replace their LFIT CoCr V40 femoral head along with related hip system components.”
Settlement Expected To Include Hip Implant Systems
Court records do not indicate which other hip implant components will be covered by the settlement, but a plaintiffs’ law firm involved in the case reported on November 2 that both recalled and unrecalled V40 femoral heads are believed to be included. Other components listed in the press release include “compatible stem system configurations” Accolade TMZF, Accolade 2, Citation, Meridian and Rejuvenate.
Cases In Massachusetts, New Jersey Will Be Affected
The settlement’s terms are confidential, but experts believe that cases filed in the US District Court of Massachusetts will be affected. The settlement is also believed to cover claims that have been coordinated in a New Jersey state court, as well as cases filed in other jurisdictions that remain pending. Attorneys say that the settlement will resolve the cases that were scheduled to proceed as the initial bellwether trials.
Settlement amounts are expected to vary depending on the degree of harm suffered by a patient, as well as the particular components involved in an individual case.
Massachusetts Judge Outlines Next Steps
Following the settlement’s announcement, US District Judge Talwani issued an Order Aiding Private Settlement, which provides further details on the settlement’s administration. She has appointed a Settlement Oversight Committee to serve as the “primary point of contact” between individual plaintiffs’ attorneys, Stryker, the US District Court of Massachusetts and the New Jersey court where state-filed cases are consolidated. The Settlement Oversight Committee is comprised of six attorney members.
Eligible plaintiffs who could take part in the settlement should expect a preliminary notice within seven days of November 2, 2018. This notice will provide further details on the settlement.
Hip Implants Recalled Over Safety Risks
Some units of the LFIT V40 femoral head system were recalled in August 2016. That month, Stryker announced a recall for certain lots of the hip system component, citing “higher-than-expected” failure rates, including a complication known as taper lock failure. Due to these failures, patients began to report a litany of severe complications, including device breakage, chronic pain, implant loosening and adverse local tissue reactions.
In their lawsuits, patients blame the component for severe injuries and debilitating complications. Thousands of patients have found themselves in need of invasive revision surgeries within just 5 years of receiving their hip implant. Most commercially-available hip replacement devices are expected to last for at least 20 years.